After the ban due to apartheid was removed, South Africa returned to the CAN 1994 qualifiers but failed to qualify. In 1996, South Africa won its first CAN championship when the tournament was held at home. Bafana overcame Tunisia 2-0 in the final to win the only CAN championship title so far.
In the next two tournaments, South Africa continued to show the strength of an African giant when he won runner-up in 1998 and won third place in 2000.
Egyptian Empire (2000 – 2010)
The 2000 tournament was the first CAN period with two co-hosting countries, Ghana and Nigeria. Cameroon won 2 league titles in 2000 and 2002 tournaments to become the next team to successfully defend the championship title after Egypt and Ghana.
After Tunisia won the tournament championship in 2004 at home, in 2006, Egypt began to dominate CAN, winning three consecutive championships from 2006 to 2010.
The local team of Pharaoh set the tournament record. 19 games unbeaten since their defeat to Tunisia in CAN 2004 and of the 9 consecutive wins. They are one of the four teams that have won three consecutive continental championships with Argentina, Mexico, and Iran.
Before CAN 2008 took place, many European teams urged BTC to rethink CAN’s schedule when the European season is taking place. Some African players don’t play for their club.
Former Sepp Blatter president requested that the tournament be held in June, July 2016 to match the international schedule. However, this faces opposition from Central African and West African countries. This was because these months are the rainy season in this region.
Tournament expansion (2010 to present)
In May 2010, CAN’s organizers announced that it would change the tournament time from even year to odd year. This rule was applied from the 2013 tournament. This change prevents CAN from conflict with the year of the World Cup.